For some couples, it may take weeks or months before they label their relationship in any way. Maybe you’re in a situation where things started out casually but quickly escalated into something more serious. You’ve been dating for a while and it’s becoming clear that this may be a long-term relationship. The meet-the-parents moment, which is always a big deal here, is one of the best markers that there’s something more than casual cavorting going on.
Yes, things are heating up, at least for him. He’s asking his parents what they think of you and him as a couple, and he’s partially showing you off. This could have been a precursor to getting engaged once upon a time. If all goes well, after a few more visits and the possibility of you overnight at his parents’ house, the hard question of who sleeps in which bed emerges. In today’s world, it is expected that a young couple that has been together for a while will sleep together, and many (what percentage would be a guess) will allow and expect the young pair to share a bed.
Here are some of the most plausible reasons why your boyfriend suddenly wants you to attend family reunions and intimate weekend gatherings.
They’re genuinely interested in you
Because it’s supposed to satisfy their curiosity about you, an introduction to his family may be more informal. Most families have their rituals, and being invited to one of them demonstrates acceptance and wants to learn more about their son’s favorite girl. The fact that they’re aware of your existence (and that you’re a significant part of your guy’s life) indicates that he’s been talking about you—and in a positive manner. Also, instead of having a meeting set up specifically for you, participating in on a regular basis relieves some of the strain and allows you to be yourself. If you’ve been dating for a while and this hasn’t happened yet, don’t start thinking about wedding gowns or making long-term plans just yet.
And, leaping far ahead of your current predicament, keep in mind that if you marry him, you’ll be adopting his parents as well as the occasional granny and uncle.
You’ve met his friends
He made it a point to invite you to meet his pals in particular. This is not the same as him texting you at 1 a.m. to pick him up from a party, when you just meet his pals briefly. He’s at least a little into you if he makes plans with you to go out with his buddies and it all feels like a big deal. Date someone who invites you to work functions, because he would feel more comfortable with his best friend standing next to him. Because the only people that he spends more time with than you are his coworkers, and he thinks that you deserve to meet each other since you’re always hearing so many stories about each other.
He’s taking you to “couples’ events
It’s one thing to meet his pals. If you’re not sure how he feels about you and you go to dinner with only couples, you’ve very well get your answer. No guy who wants to keep things casual will take you out with a group of couples. Date someone who invites you out with his friends, because he wants to show you off. Because he hates going out without you. Because he wants you to become an official member of the friend group so that you don’t have to spend any weekends apart.
You slept over and didn’t have sex
When you can spend the night with a newish hookup and not feel obligated to actually hook up, it’s a good sign. The more this happens, the more likely it is you can have a “talk” without it being cringy. Any guy who wanted to set boundaries with a casual fling wouldn’t have even let this happen once.
His family knows about you
It’s a big step to meet his parents. Even if he isn’t ready for it, the fact that you exist is a major matter to him – he wouldn’t tell his family about some random hookup. Date someone who invites you to spend the holidays with him, even if he is embarrassed by his extended family’s presence. Someone who, because he is open and honest with you, wants you to see all of his family’s amusing and flawed moments.
You’ve done an overnight trip
Obviously, I’m not referring to a romantic getaway at a bed and breakfast; otherwise, this wouldn’t be a question, perhaps you and your partner have the strangest relationship ever. He sees you as a girlfriend or boyfriend if he invites you to visit his college friend or if he invites you to join him when his pals all book hotel rooms for New Year’s Eve.
You got through a tough time together
On a much more somber note, it’s likely that he’s not going to see you if he’s going through the death of a close relative. Or he might not want to crowd you if you’ve got your own struggles. If you’re both sticking around through the worst of it, it’s because you care about the other person.
He makes plans around you
You’re probably not at the point where he’s going to make major career changes with you, but he’s thinking of you beyond the next few weekends, that’s a sign. Whether it means you made casual plans to go see a movie in three weeks or he’s taking you as his plus-one to a wedding in a month, that’s something.
You get some kind of missing you texts
His messages go beyond trying to schedule the next hookup or sexting you. If he wanted to keep his distance and make things casual, he wouldn’t be texting you every day. Or, he just really loves DMing. To be fair, that’s also a possibility. He might just be really bored at work.
He really goes out of his way to see you
He’s braved snowstorms or driven an hour out of his way to show up at your place. Maybe he even busts his ass to see you multiple times in a week even though it isn’t exactly convenient. That’s definitely a relationship-level effort.
When someone asks who you are and he is quick to say you are his girlfriend
You’ll probably want to clarify it with him after the fact, but this is as good a sign as any. If he just called you his “friend,” you’d know he’s still trying to keep his distance.
You shouldn’t date someone who hesitates to meet your loved ones, someone who keeps putting the milestone off, because they aren’t that serious about your relationship, because they aren’t sure if you’re good enough to take home.
Even better, date someone that invites your parents over to meet his parents, because he wants you to join together and become a real family. Because he knows that one day, they’ll all be under the same roof, watching as you two get married.
Of course, letting you into his world isn’t enough. He should become a part of your world, as well.
Date someone who is excited to go to the movies with your friends or go to the bar with your cousins, because if you care about someone, he cares about them too.
Date someone who honestly wants you to be happy and to have fun, not just with him, but with everybody in your life.
Date someone who holds your hand in public introduces you as his girlfriend, changes his relationship status, and posts silly couple pictures on his profiles.
Whether your guy is a mama’s boy or their relationship is a bit more distant, see how the two of them interact in the same room. Remember, this is a relationship that’s literally developed since birth, and all parents interact differently with their kids. You should NOT interfere with their relationship, because it will only backfire. Even if he seems kind of clingy to his Mom, he obviously has space for both of you in his life, so chill out.
When you’re entering someone’s house for the first time, you never know what to expect. Even if you’re typically in sweats, you definitely want to present yourself in an adult way for the first meeting. While you shouldn’t break out a ballgown, choose something your grandma would think you look “just darling” in. This proves that you actually view the meet-up as an important event.
You’re not typically a slob, but you and your boyfriend have been eating Lean Cuisines in front of the TV for about three months now, so you’re a little out of practice. Always chew with your mouth closed, no matter who you’re eating with. If you don’t have room to close it, you might be stuffing too much in your mouth at once. Eating too fast (“power eating”, as my friend calls it) also might make it look like you haven’t had dinner in weeks. While his mom’s cooking might be delicious, there are better ways to compliment the chef.
You brought it up
It’s natural for guys to fall into autopilot mode, especially in long-term relationships. Some guys are content to continue dating indefinitely, with no plans for marriage or big life changes. Continue if this is OK to you. However, you may feel compelled to go on to the next level at some point. If he isn’t ready—or at least doesn’t feel ready—you could investigate the reasons together. However, there are occasions when it is beneficial to take command, particularly when things would not progress otherwise. If you want to move your relationship further, you should tell your man, preferably in clear, plain language (“I’d want to meet your family.”) and he should do it.
He can’t wait to show you off
A man who has recently bought a particularly nice car will be unable to resist displaying it in front of others to demonstrate his status/wealth/taste. Some guys can’t wait to tell everyone (especially his parents, who thought he’d never amount to much) that they’re dating a Nobel Prize-winning architect, doctor, or supermodel. You are now, of course, more than the sum of your accomplishments. You’re also not a high-end vehicle. And being shown off implies that…well, he’s a bit of a show-off, and that trophy wifehood could be in the cards. It’s nice to be noticed, though. Best case scenario, his real delight in your achievements stems from a true affection for you as a whole.
You’re The One he wants
This is, after all, the big one. Your boyfriend is invested in the relationship, whether he plans to marry in five years or next week. Of course, there are degrees; he may be in the throes of the early delight, when nothing seems to go wrong and everything is hearts and flowers and bedroom romping. Or, after a year or more of going out and a slow (maybe overdue) sense of “Hey, this is serious,” this decision may be made. In any case, he might be it; he might be The One. By introducing you to his parents, he demonstrates his faith in the future, which can operate as an unseen shield against his parents’ misgivings or rejection. Now it’s up to you to decide whether you’re ready to be his wife, not to mention his parents’ future daughter-in-law.